The Toronto Maple Leafs organization has drafted and developed a number of youngsters currently playing in the NHL, but with players like Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen and Travis Dermott now on their roster, the next step for the club is to keep replenishing the prospect pool to provide the Leafs with youngsters who can take step and replace veterans who retire, depart via free agency or are traded.
With some input from Sportsology’s Russ Cohen and Gus Katsaros of McKeen’s Hockey, we will rank the club’s top 25 prospects over the next few weeks based on their progress in either the NCAA, CHL, Europe or the American Hockey League and their potential to make the Leafs roster and make a contribution.
Players such as Dermott, Kapanen, Frederik Gauthier, Andreas Borgman, Calle Rosen, Josh Leivo, Garret Sparks and Justin Holl are not eligible because they have played more than 30 NHL games or are over the age of 23.
We continue the list today with #19 and #18 of the Leafs Top 25 Prospects with another pair of players selected in the 2018 Draft in Dallas.
#25 – JD Greenway (Defense, Dubuque Fighting Saints – USHL)
#24 – Ian Scott (Goaltender, Prince Albert Raiders – WHL)
#23 - Martins Dzierkals (Winger, Orlando/ Toronto – ECHL/AHL)
#22 - Andrew Nielsen (Defense, Toronto Marlies – AHL)
#21 – Riley Stotts (Center, Swift Current/Calgary Hitmen - WHL)
#20 – Filip Kral (Defense, Spokane Chiefs – WHL)
The youngest player selected in the 2018 NHL Draft, Der-Arguchintsev (who is referred to as “SDA”) is an elusive playmaking center selected with the pick acquired from the St. Louis Blues for the Leafs trading down in the first round.
The 17-year-old finished his second season with Peterborough with 51 points (12 goals, 39 assists) and has connections with the Leafs through fellow Moscovite Nikita Zaitsev (who played with his brother played with in Russia).
Only 5’9”, 159 lbs., SDA may test the notion of smaller players being able to be successful, since he is skillful and smart, but is not strong or a speed burner.
#18 – Mac Hollowell (Defense, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – OHL)
Kyle Dubas relied on familiarity heavily in his first draft as Leafs GM, selecting a pair of blueliners from his own stomping grounds in Sault Ste. Marie.
The 19-year-old Hollowell attended the Leafs Development Camp in 2017 after not being selected in the NHL Draft in Chicago and more than doubled his point total with the Greyhounds last season with 56 points (12 goals, 44 assists) in 63 games.
Skill and speed over size was once again the philosophy used by the Leafs with their selection of Hollowell, who compensated for his 5’9” 170 lb. frame with his skating, puck handling and passing abilities.
Hollowell could play in the American Hockey League, but with the number of blueliners slated to be on the Marlies roster, it is more likely that the Niagara Falls, ON native will return to the Soo as an overager.
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